Jun 19, 2010 12:00AM

Suckers Attacked by Homeless Transsexual Hookers

Describing themselves as four one-man bands, Brooklyn-based Suckers are following in the wake of MGMT, Grizzly Bear and Yeasayer as young flag-bearers for the New York indie-pop scene. Having just released their debut full-length album Wild Smile through NYC's Frenchkiss Records, Oyster chatted to vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Quinn Walker between sound-checks for a midnight show in Hollywood. Josh Butler spoke to the frontman about gigs in NYC, finding the perfect drummer and being robbed by hookers.

Oyster: Tell me about Suckers.
Quinn Walker: Suckers is myself, my cousin Austin Fisher, and our friends Pan and Brian Aiken. We started three years ago as a three-piece, and added Brian two years ago. We've released one EP, and are about to release our full-length album Wild Smile.

Where are you calling from right now?
We're in Los Angeles, about to do a sound-check. Tonight we're playing at Bardot, a club in Hollywood, with Hot Hot Heat.

For Wild Smile, you worked with Chris Zane, who's worked with Passion Pit and Mumford & Sons. What did he bring to the album?
It was a blast working with him. We had all the songs written beforehand, so we knew what we wanted when we entered the studio. They started off pretty raw, but once we got into the more creative overdubbing, he gave some excellent ideas

The opener for Wild Smile is a reworking of one of your solo tracks. Why did you decide to include this on the album?
We've been playing it for a while as a band. When we didn't have material, Austin and I would bring songs to the table, and this was one of them. We re-worked it together so that it doesn't sound anything like how I released it. It's always gotten a good crowd response. We realised it made sense as an album opener.

You deliberately made the record sound very clean and clear, to contrast with your live shows. Why was this important?
We all enjoy the rawness of the live show, but with the album, we could do a lot more. Myself, I don't enjoy seeing a song that sounds exactly like an album; I like the spontaneity, to see something different.

In your live shows, you guys often switch instruments mid-song. Why do you do this? Why not just get touring musicians to contribute additional instruments?
Well, we can't really afford new members (laughs). No, we enjoy it. When we were a three-piece, we couldn't find someone that suited us. We wanted somebody to create with us, not just be a hired hand. Then we found Brian [Aiken, drummer] and it worked out great. We write together really well.

Being an indie band from Brooklyn, there will be inevitable comparisons to MGMT and Grizzly Bear. Is it helpful to have those guys leading the way for Brooklyn music, or do you ever feel overshadowed to an extent?
It's definitely helpful. We were there when they started; Yeasayer had their first show a day after we did our first show, we saw Grizzly Bear's first show. I think it's New York in general. Creative people are drawn there, so naturally there's a dynamic, creative element somewhere that just happens to be the Williamsburg area right now. Everybody has this sense of New York as this wondrous place, the "if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere" mentality.

You've been slapped with tags like 'Best New Band in 2010' by MTV, Rolling Stone and NME. What's it like to have such expectations put on you?
It's a lot of pressure, but we're just in it to play music we enjoy. If people enjoy it, they enjoy it. If they don't, too bad; we're not going to stop because of that. But it's nice to hear people expecting big things? I hope we don't disappoint!

You've just finished up a tour with Local Natives; any good stories from the road?
We had our van broken into by homeless transsexual hookers in Washington on the main road at 11am near the Capitol. They popped the locks, jumped over our equipment, and stole our laptops? probably because it'd be a little shady to be walking around with musical equipment. We reported it to the cops, they were like "oh yeah, 99% chance that it's men dressed as women, lots of that around here".

Any Australian tour plans?
I would love to. There's talk about possibly coming to Australia next winter, but I guess it just depends on the money situation...